Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Recipe - Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

If you're like me, you probably have a Tupperware container full of chicken/turkey/grouse/ostrich/Big Bird in your fridge right now. If you're also like me, the idea of pulling out a piece of meat - touching it in any way - and eating it repulses you. So, what are you to do with all of that food, which, given a few weeks, may resolve itself into some mutant, eyeless freak of nature and peck you to death in your sleep?

You do this.

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

1 can of cream of celery soup
1/2 bag frozen peas (about 8 oz)
1/3 C milk
2 C chicken
3 C stuffing

Add soup, peas and milk to a microwave safe bowl, cover. Microwave 3 minutes, stir and re-cover, then microwave 4 minutes more.

Add chicken and two cups of stuffing, stir, top with remaining stuffing. Microwave uncovered for 7-9 minutes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

This year for Thanksgiving, rather than try to split time between four households and two states, Dave and I decided to make our families come to us. The result was both of our mothers being here for a few days, exploring the wonder that is Maine.

Thursday we cooked and ate all day. I have never done much of the cooking for a holiday before, and I was amazed at how tiring it is. I passed out pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow that night.

On Friday, because my mom wanted to, we all went to the beach. It was freezing but we all acted like little kids - picking up shells and rocks, running from the waves, in my case taking far too many photos and being grossed out by the very dead seal on the shore.

We even got a surprisingly good photo of all of us.

Dave, his mom, me, my mom

For the rest of Friday and much of Saturday we ate, shopped, and just lazed around.

On Sunday we went into Portland to eat and shop more (are you beginning to see a theme here?).

We found a human sized lobster wandering the streets of Portland, no doubt advertising for some restaurant. Naturally, I got a picture with it. The back of his/her shirt said "Eat Me".

Dave and I had seen a harbor seal in the bay they last time we were in Portland for lunch, so we walked down a pier to see if we could spot some more. Sadly, we didn't, but the view was still worth the trip.

It was a really fun weekend - I'm glad we decided to be difficult and make Mohammad come to the mountain.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu!

Baked Brie with Apple Butter

Main Course:
Chicken (I hate turkey) with apple and cranberries

Side dishes:
Cranberry sauce (the one from a can, I love it)
Sweet potatoes
Confetti Green Beans

Noodle kugel with apple pie filling
Jello salad
Blackberry pie
Pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving recipe #7 - Harvest Chicken

The chicken was probably the easiest thing we made today - using a crock pot to cook it not only made it self sufficient, but it kept the oven free for the hundred and one other dishes we were making. For this we added to a recipe my mom had used recently, to much success.

Harvest Chicken

1 whole chicken, and additional parts depending on how many people you are feeding
Apple cider (I used cinnamon apple cider for added flavor)
4 apples, sliced
dried cranberries
mulling spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel, etc)

Set the crock pot to cook for 6 hours - this will allow the chicken to cook for a while, and keep it out of your hair all day, but it wont get too dry.

Make sure the chicken is cleaned out, remove all wayward feathers.

Put the chicken in the crock pot.

Cover the chicken with apple cider - use enough to fill the crock pot halfway. Drop in dried cranberries and mulling spices, cover the top with apple slices.

Cook for the full six hours.

Make sure to remove all bones and cloves - cloves are edible, but kinda nasty, so try to avoid them.

The chicken was delicious, and we even used the serving plate my grandmother sent us :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving recipe #5 -Blackberry Pie

Yet another dessert - only one more after this, I promise :)

The store had a buy 1, get 2 free sale on blackberries, so this is the result. I found this recipe on allrecipies.com, and made a few changes as per the comments. Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks.

Update: It did. If not better.

Blackberry Pie

4 C fresh blackberries
1/2 C white sugar
1/4 C instant tapioca
A 9 inch double crust pie (store bought, I didn't have the patience for a hand made one)
white sugar

Place the bottom crust into pie pan, brush with a little bit of egg or eggbeaters (this prevents the crust from becoming soggy). Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and tapioca - mix until there are no clumps of white anymore, all dry ingredients stick to berries. Spoon the mixture into pie shell.

Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with egg, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 degree F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Thanksgiving recipe #4 - Jello and Marshmallow Salad

This is another desert recipe - it is beginning to look as though we will have 4 deserts tomorrow, oy - and one that comes from Dave's family rather than mine. I idea of marshmallow salad always kind of put me off, but this is insanely delicious.

Grammy’s Green Jello and Marshmallow Salad

1 3oz pkg Lime Jello
¼ C sugar
1 C hot water
1 1/2 C miniature marshmallows
1 C crushed canned pineapple, fully drained of liquid
1 C cottage cheese (small curd)
1 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1 C heavy whipping cream (whipped) or Cool Whip

Mix together jello and sugar, then add hot water and stir until fully dissolved.

Add marshmallows, stir and let cool - wait until the jello feels like it is starting to set.

Add pineapple, cottage cheese and walnuts. Fold whipping cream into jello mixture, cover and chill in refrigerator for several hours until set - overnight is best.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving recipe #3 - Confetti Green Beans

Day three of my Thanksgiving recipe week brings you Confetti Green Beans - one of my favorite new vegetable dishes. It is really easy to make, looks festive, and tastes delicious. Since this one has no set measurements, judge for yourself how much of everything you need, based on how many people you are cooking for.

Confetti Green Beans

Green beans
Sliced almonds
dried cranberries
vegetable oil
boiling water

Have enough beans for the number of people you are cooking for - half a handful per person works well.

A tablespoonful of dried cranberries per handful of beans is a roughly the right amount - you don't want the cranberries to overpower the beans, but you want them noticeable, for both taste and color. The same goes for the sliced almonds. Just cover the cranberries in some boiling water for about 5 minutes, enough to get them soft.

Saute the green beans in oil for a few minutes, until they turn a bright, vibrant green. Pour in the water and cranberries, saute a few more minutes. Add the almonds, cook for another 30 seconds, and remove from heat.

Serve as soon as possible.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving recipe #2 - Noodle Kugel

Posting the recipe for The Pie - as well as checking the Amazon.com Black Friday deals page every hour - has given me the idea of posting a new recipe every day this week, based on my planned menu for Thanksgiving.

I have already posted the recipe for the Baked Brie and Apple Butter I plan on making as an appetizer, so here is another dessert recipe. I am not, incidentally, making The Pie this year. I may do so for Christmas, but four people just isn't enough to consume that monstrosity.

Noodle Kugel

1lb medium egg noodles
2/3 C water drained from noodles (saved)
6 eggs (1 1/2 C egg beaters)
¼ lb margarine
16oz applesauce or apple pie filling (I am using an apple cranberry pie filling from Trader Joe's)
½ C sugar
1 t vanilla
1 C white raisins, cherries or dried cranberries (optional)

Boil noodles, drain and reserve 2/3 C water. Mix margarine with drained noodles and water. Add eggs, applesauce or pie filling, sugar, cinnamon & vanilla. Add raisins if desired.

Grease 9x13”pan. Add noodles, sprinkle top with mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In advance, a Thanksgiving treat - The Pie!

Since Jocelyn asked so nicely, here is, just in time for Thanksgiving, the greatest apple pie recipe in the world. This was originally called the Special Apple Pie, but since then, it has become so infamous that if you say ‘The Pie’ in a serious tone, all of my family and friends will understand what is meant. This pie is made only at Thanksgiving, because one’s heart can only take this kind of abuse once a year. But it is sooo worth it.

Special Apple Pie, or, The Pie (Deep Dish)


1 ¾ c. all purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
½ c. plus 2 T. butter (1 ¼ sticks)

For crust, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender (also called 'a fork') until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water, toss gently with fork until evenly moistened. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to lightly floured board. Roll into a circle larger than a deep 10” pie plate. Ease pastry into plate and flute a high edge. Set aside.

As documented in an earlier post, crusts are easier said than done. If you don't have a lot of time, or simply don't want the rise in blood pressure, just get a pie crust from the store. HOWEVER, bear in mind that this recipe is for a DEEP DISH pie, so you will need TWO regular sized pie crusts for the same amount of filling as one deep dish crust.

*Because someone found this last bit of direction confusing: if you do not make a crust, and instead buy two normal-sized crusts, this will result in two pies. You will not somehow mold the two crusts together, or stack them, or who knows what else - you will simply make the filling and put it in the two separate pie crusts. Therefor, two pies.*


8 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced (McIntosh are the best, but an hard, tart baking apples will do)
1 2/3 c. sour cream
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
½ t. salt

For filling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

A quick note on slicing apples:

In order for apples to bake well, they must be relatively thin. Rather than cutting wedges, or using an apple slicer, it is easier to peel the apple, and cut slices off the sides. The pieces will naturally all be different shapes - the first few will be circles off the sides, then more rectangular in shape - and this will also help them fit better within the pie crust.

Combine apples, sour cream, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Spoon into crust.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until filling is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 40 minutes longer. (If edges of crust brown too quickly, cover with strips of foil.)

As you can see in that last photo, I used two different types of crust. On the left is a Graham Cracker crust, on the right is a Pillsbury refrigerated crust. The latter worked far better for this type of pie.


1 c. chopped walnuts
½ c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
½ c. butter (1 stick), room temperature

For topping, combine walnuts, flour, sugars and cinnamon and mix well. Blend in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Spoon over pie and bake 15 minutes more.

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I love introducing it to new people. Let me know if you make it, and how it turned out. Bon appetit and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Movie Review


Dave and I went to see HP 7 pt 1 at the midnight release - the first time I had done so for a Harry Potter film, and only the second ever (the first was for Star Wars: Episode Three - George Lucas needs more money). Fortunately, I can say that I liked The Deathly Hallows more than Revenge of the Sith.

Sadly, not by much.

Now, I know many of my issues with the movie - as they have been with all in this series - are due to the fact that I am a huge fan of the books. Very rarely do you get a movie adaptation that is comparable to the book - The Lord of the Rings films come to mind as some of the only in this category. I have been consistently disappointed with the Harry Potter films in large part because they are being targeted at children, and consequently are much shorter and lighter than they would be if they were more true to the books. Two and a half hours simply isn't enough to do justice to a 700 page book. That's 150 pages of script, which involves considerably less than 150 pages of prose.

A lot of characters and plot lines have been left out of the films that made sense, I will not argue with that. Peeves was missed, but never terribly necessary, other than for comic relief. Other things, however, ought to have been kept in: Hedwig's name is never mentioned in The Sorcerer's Stone, Harry's patronus is never explained in The Prisoner of Azkaban, and even Dubledore's death in The Half Blood Prince is almost entirely glossed over. This, and the failure to introduce characters in earlier movies, made for an extremely choppy and abrupt experience with The Deathly Hallows part 1.

The first 15 minutes of the film viewed like a bullet-point list of information: the Dursleys leave, Hermione wipes the memories of her parents, Tonks and Lupin are suddenly married, and oh yea, that's Mundungus Fletcher, who we should have seen two movies ago. It was as though the writer read the first 50 pages of the book, went "Damn, I need to establish this and this and this", and decided to do it all in one sentence. I was rather unimpressed with the writing.

Meanwhile, omissions are happening all over the place, some of which really detract from the characters. We get to build-up of Ron loosing his cool, he just suddenly snaps. We had a nice little scene with Harry and Ginny at the beginning of the film, and as soon as the trio leave the wedding, that's it. No mention of her. This makes Harry look quite the jerk, not giving a damn about his (ex)girlfriend, who also happens to be Ron's sister.

At the same time as all of these parts are being left out, we get to one of my biggest complaints of the movies: writers adding their owns scenes just for the hell of it. Hermione wiping her parents memories was a tear-jerking scene which could have been summed up in a sentence the way it was in the book. The Harry/Hermione dance scene was utterly pointless, and the time could have been used much better. The extremely bizarre storytelling sequence could have been shortened considerably, and I would have preferred live action rather than the shadow puppet animation.

(Side note, did anyone else think that Death looked suspiciously like General Grievous from Revenge of the Sith?)

The one part that was left in, which I felt could have been easily removed (I felt like this about the book as well) was the destruction of the locket. That was a long (rather risque) scene which, when compared to the destruction of the other horcruxes, is overkill. Again, I felt the time could have been put to better use elsewhere.

Overall, my feeling about the movie was that it was very choppy. There is so much to cover in the book - and this first part covered the first 2/3rds, rather than the first 1/2. There was no sense of the time that the trio have to spend planning everything - we just go from one scene to another with no time to breathe in between. Rather than the methodical, mature characters we get in the book, the Harry, Ron and Hermione of the movie plunge into things face first without thinking them through.

All in all, not a fan.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Cipollini Onions

We went to the farmers market in Augusta, Maine a few weeks ago, and I got a small bag of cipollini onions - in Italian, that means 'onion onions'. How creative. The people who were selling them suggested using the enclosed recipe, as the onions are so flavorful on their own it is a shame to use them as an ingredient in a more complex dish.

Balsamic Glazed Cipollini Onions

6-8 Cipollini onions
boiling water
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

First, remove the onion skin by dipping the onions in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove and quickly peel. Place onions in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with oil, vinegar and salt, and whatever other seasonings you wish.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees if the glaze concentrates too quickly.